September 30, 2018

Leaving the Matrix: Annie Duke and Insights into how you can improve your thinking!

 Annie Duke’s latest book, Thinking in Bets, Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts, is a masterful mash-up of her life as a researcher, poker player and charitable organization founder. In it, she explores new ideas on how to make better decisions.  Our interview with her expanded beyond the book and we talked extensively about probabilistic thinking and having people hold us accountable for our decision making. As expected, our interview covered an eclectic mix of behavioral biases, sociology, language development and, of without fail, music.

  We noted some remarkable researchers including Anna Dreber, Phil Tetlock, Barb Miller, Stuart Firestein and Jonathan Haidt. We went deep into Annie’s personal history with her mentor Lila Gleitman and their work on Syntactic Bootstrapping, with the help of Donald Duck. Our music discussion included Jack White, Willie Nelson, Jonathan Richman, Prince, Alex Chilton and the Violent Femmes. If you find any of these names unfamiliar, we urge you to check them out.

  We used the movie The Matrix and the blue pill/red pill metaphor for looking at the world as accurate vs. inaccurate, rather than right or wrong. We discussed how tribes can offer us distinctiveness and belongingness but also confine us with the tribe’s sometimes negative influences. We also examined learning pods and how they can be used to keep our decisions more in line with reality. Because this is a lengthy discussion we share the following to help you navigate if you’re interested in specific topics (Hour:Minute:Second). We sincerely hope you’ll take time to listen to the entire discussion – it’s both fun and insightful – but we also understand that life can get busy.

- Red Pill / Blue Pill begins at 00:07:40

- Tribes begins at 00:11:36

- Learning groups begins at 00:31:08

- Discussion of Lila Gleitman begins at 1:00:55

- Syntactic Bootstrapping begins at 1:05:36

- Jack White begins at 1:17:30

  If you like this episode, please forward it on to a friend or colleague and help Kurt win his bet with Tim for who pays the donation to How I Decide. You can find more information on or donate to this wonderful non-profit at www.howidecide.org

Behavioral Grooves 

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